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Has anyone ever had a book published?

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I just looked, and wish I hadn't.

 

Hellbender's book is published by PublishAmerica, which is a notorious vanity press. That's not to say his book is bad--it actually sounds interesting. But PA will publish anything at all, good OR bad, and they have a horrible reputation for mistreating their writers in all sorts of ways. What a shame.

 

Listen: I don't object to self-publishing, which can be an excellent route for some books. But I do object to publishers which scam, deceive or otherwise abuse the writers who they publish. If any of you is considering publishing your work, then for goodness' sake do your research and make sure the company you're considering is reputable. PM me if you like. I'm happy to advise. Or go to http://www.absolutewrite.com, and post on the "bewares and background checks" part of the forum there. You'll get good advice.

 

Does that mean hes had to "pay" to have it published ?

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PA argues not, although it's pretty much accepted that they are a "reverse vanity press", which means that they get their money at the back instead of the front--after publication. They pay a token $1 advance, but then make their money back by ensuring that the writer buys copies to sell on. They admitted in a recent-ish adjudication that they make their money from their writers, and not from the book-buying public (search for PublishAmerica and Phil Doolan and you're bound to find details). They do no marketing or promotion for their books; few bookshops will stock them, as the discounts and conditions are laughable; and PA has shown how low their standards are by offering contracts to several "sting" mss which were written to ridiculously low standards: Atlanta Nights was the first, followed more recently by Crack of Death which I had the pleasure to contribute to. They're not set up to deal with sales to bookshops and do all they can to discourage such sales.

 

AbsoluteWrite has a whole sub-forum dedicated to PA, and is a good place to start if you want to find out more.

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PA argues not, although it's pretty much accepted that they are a "reverse vanity press", which means that they get their money at the back instead of the front--after publication. They pay a token $1 advance, but then make their money back by ensuring that the writer buys copies to sell on. They admitted in a recent-ish adjudication that they make their money from their writers, and not from the book-buying public (search for PublishAmerica and Phil Doolan and you're bound to find details). They do no marketing or promotion for their books; few bookshops will stock them, as the discounts and conditions are laughable; and PA has shown how low their standards are by offering contracts to several "sting" mss which were written to ridiculously low standards: Atlanta Nights was the first, followed more recently by Crack of Death which I had the pleasure to contribute to. They're not set up to deal with sales to bookshops and do all they can to discourage such sales.

 

AbsoluteWrite has a whole sub-forum dedicated to PA, and is a good place to start if you want to find out more.

 

Looks as though you know all the "ins & outs" which I guess you need to in publishing.

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As writers, it's our duty to find out these things.

 

Atlanta Nights is available as a free download, I'm sure: you should find it with a bit of Googling. It's well worth a read, just to show you what PA's standards are. One of the chapters was "written" by an automatic text generator and makes no sense whatsoever. Yet PA offered it a contract.

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As writers, it's our duty to find out these things.

 

Atlanta Nights is available as a free download, I'm sure: you should find it with a bit of Googling. It's well worth a read, just to show you what PA's standards are. One of the chapters was "written" by an automatic text generator and makes no sense whatsoever. Yet PA offered it a contract.

 

What is " an automatic text generator" ?

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What is " an automatic text generator" ?

 

A computer program.

 

You feed a program some text, and it analyses the frequency or words and where they are positioned iwth respect to each other, then it will generate pages of stuff of a similar type.

 

We use them in IT sometimes for generating large volumes of 'realistic looking' test data.

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A computer program.

 

You feed a program some text, and it analyses the frequency or words and where they are positioned iwth respect to each other, then it will generate pages of stuff of a similar type.

 

We use them in IT sometimes for generating large volumes of 'realistic looking' test data.

 

How could one use that in the writing of a novel though ?

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I had three contracts - the one for my computing stuff was with Melbourne House - they did a lot of computer books in the 1980s, and I stayed with them until they dropped out of the book market. I did about half a dozen books for them, and they were a nice bunch.

 

I wanted to do a book on amateur radio, so I ended up with Newnes for two books on amateur radio. I then fancied doing something on Chaos Theory and Fractals, so my contract hopped over the corridor to Butterworth-Heinemanns.

 

My stuff stayed in print until the late 1990s, and I got the copyrights back from Newnes and Heinemanns a couple of years ago.

 

There's enough interest in the books (going by ebay and other second hand shops) that I'm going to do a print on demand project with them. I've also got one technical book ready to roll that hasn't been published yet, so I'm excited about that.

 

I've done some self-publishing of some technical booklets already, and they've sold pretty well. The main issue isn't the words, it's the diagrams and photographs when you have to do it all yourself!

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How could one use that in the writing of a novel though ?

 

 

Well, there are more sophisticated versions but none of them are truly creative. I assume that the excercise was carried out to test the editorial quality of the company concerned.

 

There have been a few AI programs that attempt to write fiction - all of it really bad! - and some programs have been written that are supposed to help with plotting and such.

 

But computers have a long way to go to be anywhere as good at story telling as my three year old neice... :)

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I had three contracts - the one for my computing stuff was with Melbourne House - they did a lot of computer books in the 1980s, and I stayed with them until they dropped out of the book market. I did about half a dozen books for them, and they were a nice bunch.

 

I wanted to do a book on amateur radio, so I ended up with Newnes for two books on amateur radio. I then fancied doing something on Chaos Theory and Fractals, so my contract hopped over the corridor to Butterworth-Heinemanns.

 

My stuff stayed in print until the late 1990s, and I got the copyrights back from Newnes and Heinemanns a couple of years ago.

 

There's enough interest in the books (going by ebay and other second hand shops) that I'm going to do a print on demand project with them. I've also got one technical book ready to roll that hasn't been published yet, so I'm excited about that.

 

I've done some self-publishing of some technical booklets already, and they've sold pretty well. The main issue isn't the words, it's the diagrams and photographs when you have to do it all yourself!

 

Do you mean you could only use the Automatic Text in technical books ?

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Do you mean you could only use the Automatic Text in technical books ?

 

Nope - it really is just used as filler or to demonstrate how bad AI is. :)

 

All my technical books were written with 100% human brain power. I took each and every word, polished it, then put it down on paper. :)

 

Take a look at this :

 

http://johno.jsmf.net/knowhow/ngrams/index.php

 

I tried one at random and got :

 

"Not the time to say hang of be a headache just fall through the Galaxy after simple coincidence, None that as you, - muttered Ford, - So had a sudden spacious a party, - So all shook herself and bending in a moment, tipped on him to the and at the night if it simple message. It's a McDonald's have been trying the first floor with me. Great and rolled off a stewardess in uuuurgh - Hey, - But, this problem, - we knew as well, it took is"

 

It's based on a dictionary that uses the 'Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Glaxy' as it's source material.

 

Total gibberish but at first glance looks like it might mean something. :)

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Nope - it really is just used as filler or to demonstrate how bad AI is. :)

 

All my technical books were written with 100% human brain power. I took each and every word, polished it, then put it down on paper. :)

 

I see. Im so in awe of published authors. It must be very tiring and monotonous work. Checking and double checking.

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